The Florida State Seminoles are rolling, coming off back-to-back blow wins over the Maimi Hurricanes and the Syracuse Orange, and the win last Saturday closed out conference play with a winning record. They earned the No. 20 spot in the CFP rankings and will host the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns this weekend at 12:00 p.m.
Offensive coordinator Alex Atkins, defensive coordinator Adam Fuller, and special teams coach John Papuchis met with the media today to discuss the Syracuse win, along with a couple of individual stand-out performances.
After a tragic shooting in Virginia that left three students dead on Monday, Atkins offered his condolences to the families and friends of those who were lost.
“First thing I want to do is offer prayers and condolences for what's going on at Virginia. You know it's a sad deal and a reminder of how precious life is. I know there are no words that can express any comfort or help but just to acknowledge that we’re praying for those families and everybody involved in that situation.”
There were plenty of standouts from last Saturday; when asked about who received the Punisher Award, he said,
“If you watch the film Mycah Pittman shows up still. He’s a bulldog out there. He loves contact. He loves physicality. Pokey Wilson on that play in the end zone; we ran the zone, and he got him one. Maurice Smith has done a fantastic job of, you know, we changed up a lot of things from the looks they presented, a lot of challenges with twist. We changed the cadence, there was a lot we did that went into it that Mo had to control, and I thought he did a really good job of handling the middle and taking care of business in that aspect.”
Atkins goes over trick plays, getting backups reps, and the offensive performance overall in his full interview below:
“Before we get started, I just wanted to send our thoughts and prayers to the UVA community, family, and friends of the victims, and I think all of our hearts are heavy today.”
Fuller’s defense has improved dramatically over the past three games, only allowing 21 points total and 6 in the last two games. After taking a slight step back earlier in the season, he said it wasn’t some magical thing they had to fix but that they knew where they needed to go and had the players to do it.
“I think earlier in the year we were doing better; it started last year because we were rushing the passer better in a simplified coverage, and then going into this year... It wasn’t, there weren’t these great searches of ‘let’s come up with these answers’..my job is to create structure and some standards and some plans and then to teach it, and then the guys go out and execute. We’ve just done a really good job, and it helps that we have good players because they can win one-on-ones.”
When asked about whether or not he feels his defense has hit the ceiling after having so much success this season, he said that there is still plenty left to accomplish.
“Listen, we all want numbers next to our names and units at the end of the day; if that’s what defines you, you’re pretty shallow. There’s a lot left out there for us to accomplish. I mean, where I get excited when I sit on the plane coming home from Syracuse, and I watch the first five plays, and I’m looking at anybody that’s up on the plane so I can show them how proud I am of how clean it looks. I mean, that’s where I get excited I mean, if that happens to be that we have eight three-and-outs and a takeaway, nine quality stops, great, and usually, that is connected.”
Fuller talks about the improvement of the secondary, the importance of the stop after Jordan Travis’ turnover Saturday, breaking the rock, and more in his full interview below.
“Just before we get started, I just wanted to share my thoughts and uh prayers with everyone down in Virginia and what their program and their universities going through super tragic as a parent, and as a coach; you just never want to hear anything like that so my thoughts are with them as we move into the week.”
Defensive back Azareye’h Thomas recovered an onside kick attempt by the Syracuse Orange after missing one a few weeks earlier against Georgia Tech. How he went about correcting his mistake showed, and Papuchis said he was proud of him.
“No question, I was happy for AZ, and I loved his response just to his experience that he had a couple weeks ago with the Georgia Tech one. He kind of waited on the ball a little bit, and this one, he went and attacked it, and that was exactly what we had talked about in terms of what the correction needed to be our guys were really in tune to it.”
Coach Norvell said that the team had one of their fastest practices last Friday, and Papuchis recognized that as well and said they’re taking a business-like approach. He also said he feels like the team is finally learning what it takes to be successful.
“I think that shows that guys are learning what it takes to win, and that’s one of the hurdles that you have to overcome as you’re building a program is learning what is it that does it take to actually have consistent success and the approach that we’ve had the last several weeks has been really good.”
Papuchis talks about special teams, Patrick Payton’s development, team togetherness, and more in his full interview below.